Friday, 17 June 2011 17:37

Uncovering Amazing Condo History

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I am thrilled to report that I've found numerous people who remember Talltree South in the early days, and actually have uncovered a stash of records in the shed. None too soon -- the bottom boxes were damp and falling apart, the rubber bands brittle and stuck to the pages, many of which were yellow and fading.

I have talked with Chele Brown, Hugo Brandts, Bob Hennessee, and others.  In so many cases, a single person determines the path of the condo for everyone in the association, because a five person board may vote 3 to 2 to make momentous decisions.  I have found that Talltree South has had THREE rocky periods, and at least THREE periods of great management.  History has already repeated itself.

This has convinced me that the STORIES need to be told. I believe that owners will enjoy and learn from stories even more than from admonishments to get involved. Today, the few determine the nature of the environment where the rest reside. Will those few make it a better place, allow it to deteriorate, or make truly awful, uninformed decisions (even if well-intentioned)?  Will they fade away, be missing in action, or get sued? Will be boards be autocratic or humane?

As a really nice note, one Talltree South board from the past had an older woman put spray snow on her windows rather than the obligatory curtains. The board members talked with her and realized that she did it because she could not afford much. They took up a collection from the owners attending the board meeting and used it to buy her the curtains. I can tell you that today's boards would be more likely to enforce the covenants with due process: notices, a hearing, and perhaps a fine.  

How did this play out in the real estate crisis?  A bank, in its infinite wisdom, "secured" a Talltree South condo unit by turning off its heat, which caused the pipes to freeze and destroyed the unit and damaged neighboring units with a huge flood -- not even realizing that the heat was included in the condo fees, which had to be paid anyway, so they were not saving themselves any money anyway. They even had changed the locks, so the condo management had to break a window to get in, to deal with the flood.

The stories are so compelling!  The history of Talltree South from the early days to the present becomes a case study with lessons for all condo owners and managers (not to mention being a fantastic read for those of us who live or lived there). I need your memories, records, and old photos, though!  And, does anyone know how to reach Tom Kennedy, Bernard Manning, or the Seven D's?

I will continue to post progress. Call me and I'll fill your ear...

By the way, we are still urgently looking for a new site manager to start next month!!

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